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The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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Submitted by Nicky Smith

Scotch Mist

By C.A. Lejeune
From: The Observer
18 November 1945

Michael Powell's new film IKWIG [No mention of Emeric despite his having joint credit as writer, producer & director] is a disappointment, because it has all the makings of a good picture, but has mixed them with some of the tricks of a very bad one. It tells the story of a determined young woman (Wendy Hiller) who goes up to the Western Isles to marry a rich business man. While waiting on the mainland for the boat that will take her to her fiancé's rented island, she meets and falls in love with the island's real owner (Roger Livesey). Days of storm, after fog, give the pair a chance to do some local sight-seeing, which is forced on the audience willy-nilly. Personally I can stand, and even welcome, a certain amount of local atmosphere, but it does shake me up when I find Captain Knight, F.Z.S. exercising his extremely urbane golden eagle, Mr Ramshaw, in these misty fastnesses, and Graham Moffat, the Fat Boy from the Will Hay comedies, shaking an ample leg at a Highland ceilidh. [So what's the problem. Aren't actors allowed to act? Or should all dancers be slim and supple?- Mark Childs]

     The real point of the picture, I take it, is bedded in a snatch of conversation, in which the hero tells the heroine that having no money is a very different thing from poverty. This is a fine idea, and the authors would have done well to develop it; at the risk of excluding the Fat Boy, the golden eagle, the family curse, the ceilidh, and all that fancy montage work at the beginning. While they were about it, they might also have printed the main title in decent capitals. To call a film, 'i know where i'm going' is a pretty clear sign that i don't quite.

[This is probably one of the least perceptive reviews I have ever read. I don't really know much about C.A. Lejeune except that Halliwell was forever quoting her, and I'm now quite glad I haven't read much. I can accept people having different opinions, but to knock a film because the director hasn't cast it the way you want it or developed the story the way you want is not criticism. And how can you have IKWIG without the curse???? - Mark Childs]

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